John William Cooke 1962

Letter from Cooke to Perón

Source: Ernesto Goldar, John William Cooke y el Perónismo Revolucionario. Editores de America Latina, Buenos Aires 2004;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2009.

Havana March 3, 1962

The Latin American problem cannot be approached if we leave out Cuba. Cuba is indissolubly linked to the process, and this is how things are seen by political progressives all over the continent. With one exception: the pygmy cadres of Peronism. But since they don’t see never will see anything that might be important, the day the people hang them they’re so stupid that they won’t understand that they are dead. I insist: don’t expect them to find the road, because they are functionally incapable of doing so, and even less so now that they are again led by Occidentalist Christians...

I will demonstrate to what extent what I affirm is correct. While the conference at Punta del Este was taking place, here [in Havana] we had the People’s Conference. I participated as special invitee of the Organizing Committee and spoke at the plenary session. Of course I only spoke or acted on my own account, but logically my presence and my words were received as if they emanated from Peronism or, at least, from a fundamental sector of Peronism. Though I’m unable to claim a representative character I wasn’t invested with, there is a tactical representation: through my past and present acts Peronism as such is well known, and though I declared that I spoke on my own account, happily nothing prevented them from thinking that my point of view represented the fundamentals of Peronism.

There, at that conference, you could see to what extent Peronism is divorced from historical reality. I am referring to the leadership within the country. I read the document that you sent in October and in it there is a lucid analysis of world reality. But in Buenos Aires it’s as if they were listening to the rain. They are “western, Christian, and anti-communist,” exactly what imperialism needs.

This contradiction between Peronism’s heroic struggle against the oligarchy and imperialism and the declarations of the poor midgets who form the upper political organisms in the country; between what you say (and what you do) and the neo-Peronists who today fight for seats in the name of Peronism is something that intrigues everyone. And which lends itself to enemy exploitation.

Let us clarify. It’s not a matter of “a good name and honor.” This is a practical problem, for the liberation that approaches will be continental, will begin who knows where; but also no one knows where it will end. And it will have common traits everywhere, unforeseeable in detail, but perfectly foreseeable in its general lines. These general lines will coincide with what Peronism essentially is – nationalist, American, socially revolutionary – but not with what Peronism appears to be through its acts and public pronouncements.

In some countries it will be communist, in others not. But this communism will not be that of the USSR or of Hungary or Poland. It will be our own product, in accordance with Latin American circumstances. For they will be mass movements, that is, they will not be manipulated by tiny intellectual groups who copy recipes, rather by leaders who take the lead and speak the language of the hour. But even the movements that are not precisely communist will be socialist, with connotations specific to each place. What it will not be is “class reconciliation,” social equilibrium, or anything of this kind. This was possible in a conjuncture that no longer exists: today it’s possible to set into action multi-class national fronts, but with the revolutionary classes – workers, peasants, intellectuals, petty bourgeoisie – in command. And however it begins, it will end in socialism; the internal tendencies that want to immobilize the situation and not consider it as a departure for subsequent transformations will be razed...

Taken country by country, in Latin America there is a revolutionary line, one of national liberation, pro-Cuban and another that is reactionary. The forces are polarized and there are no intermediate parties. The worldwide and continental situation doesn’t permit this, and instead there are fundamental groupings which will remain meaningless to those who seek a balance between one and the other conglomerate. This is a little bit what the leadership of our movement is attempting in Argentina, a position totally unreal and false, for it isn’t the position from which we derive our strength, but instead a position adopted under the protection of the sole real strength we have: your personal prestige. And if you haven’t made a pact with the devil and, as I fear, one that will be fatal, when you die the Peronist movement will die too, for it hasn’t given itself either a structure or an ideology capable of permitting it to accomplish its tasks in the new era in which we are already living.

I am not excessively pessimistic. I see this process as fatal, but not as inevitable. Fatal if we continue with a revolutionary chief and a revolutionary mass but with leaders conservative and attached – though they declare the contrary – to the values and procedures of the old politics....

You are like the motor that can set the machinery in motion, but it only moves thanks to this initial push. When the motors have to start working it doesn’t move and makes an unbearable noise. When you will be lacking the parts will completely fall apart. It won’t shatter into a thousand pieces, it will come undone, be dismantled on its own. The people are there for you; without you they will seek ideas, solutions, strategies, precisely what these leaders cannot give them.

If you were to ask me what the remedy is for a situation like the one I have diagnosed I would say that I don’t think that it resides in changing Fulanito for Mengano or X for Z. The change must be more terminal and complete. In a word: structures in accordance with the revolutionary level of the masses and the thoughts of Perón.

The current cadres can’t do this because they are out of step with the masses and with yourself (though they rend their garments crying out their loyalty). In many cases they pretend, in others they believe that loyalty is to your person, void of any ideas or content. The exchanging of those cadres for others more in accordance with the situation and with your revolutionary thought is an operation neither easy nor of short term. But given that the movement is structured like a pyramid this reality has to be taken into account. When they speak of organization “from the bottom up,” etc they are deceiving themselves. These organizations are base units or committees, with official encouragement from the different supervisory councils. This might be a necessary task, but it isn’t the way of arriving at representativeness, as has been demonstrated by the fact that every neo-Peronist idiot has his little party, recognized and legalized, but the thousands of Peronists who sacrifice themselves and go to prison and don’t care to be deputies have no means of expression. We are a revolutionary movement, and the classical procedures don’t hold. Others must be invented. But in the meanwhile, what will give meaning to this effort, what will show us the procedures, is a thought out ideological definition, where there will, without any room for doubt, be found the revolutionary content and the transformative intentions of Peronism. Only you can give and declare this, without any tergiversation, modification, distortion... As a revolutionary force we are in the present and the future. As an electoral grouping closed off from everything, we have no other field of action than the elections, which the state controls, along with its apparatus and the oligarchy and all its machinery. And in the short term, the connection is sentimental: we are Peronists because there is Perón. Should Perón no longer be what would it mean to be Peronist? Everyone will give his own answer, and these responses will not unite us, but rather would separate us. Perhaps we would find a meeting point in memorial homage, but between a partisan of “reconciliation,” which the bishops advocate, and a revolutionary there is no other area of agreement. We are at different barricades, and since the struggle is very sharp we won’t salute each other like medieval cavaliers, rather we will destroy each other as corresponds to irreconcilable enemies.